White Paper: Solving the Internet database challenge

This white paper discusses the all-encompassing duties of organisations that are charged with creating and maintaining databases,...

This white paper discusses the all-encompassing duties of organisations that are charged with creating and maintaining databases, especially for the Internet

The battle for database supremacy has long been based strictly on performance. Who won the most recent benchmarking challenge? Who can support the most users? While the performance battles continue to rage on, the database vendor that ends up winning the war may well be decided on a new battlefield - who can provide a complete solution that addresses all of an organisation's database-centric needs? In effect, who can provide the best full service database?

Performance has always been, and will continue to be, one of the most important criteria when evaluating database solutions. After all, if a data store can't offer enough performance to support its applications, then it just isn't a viable solution. A top-performing database will also allow for maximum return on investment by fully utilising both its available hardware and software resources.

In today's competitive landscape, organisations charged with managing data and data access are experiencing additional market pressures.

The tremendous popularity of the Internet has had data management teams scrambling for immediate and long term strategic Internet solutions to satisfy the demands of both end users and upper management.

An increasingly sophisticated end user population has resulted in greater demands for more timely and more sophisticated access to data. Data management teams are charged with satisfying these end users and providing improved access to corporate data.

The popularity of rapid application development tools coupled with the above-mentioned sophisticated user base has resulted in highly complex applications being built faster than ever. The accelerated pace of application development puts greater strains on current database management systems.

Of course, today's competitive environment has us all searching for additional competitive advantages and cost savings. IT budgets are being scrutinised more than ever, putting greater pressure on data management teams to maximise the return on both hardware and software investments. The most urgent market pressure facing such teams is to provide both immediate and long term Internet solutions. The Internet represents an entirely new vehicle of data access, forcing data management teams to find, implement and maintain solutions which exploit the many benefits this new paradigm for data access represents. Initially, data management teams must deliver access to corporate data via the Internet. The benefits of data access via the Internet are clear - providing business automation solutions to a new class of end users.

With database solutions hosted on the Internet, customers, prospects and business partners can all have constant access to information traditionally only available to those with direct connections to the corporate network. While the benefits of data access via the Internet are well documented, data management teams are faced with the challenge of finding, implementing and maintaining enterprise quality solutions that strike the appropriate balance between data access via the Internet and maintained data integrity and security.

The majority of today's websites fall short of their potential. Most are static publishing sites often containing little more than marketing literature. They are impersonal, offering limited end user interaction. Information delivered by these websites must be stored and maintained directly in the web page, quite often resulting in redundant, out-of-date information between the database and the website. The architecture of these websites is simple: the end user types in a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) into their web client (browser) and the browser connects to a web server over the Internet via HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). The web server receives the URL from the browser, retrieves the desired HTML (HyperText Markup Language) page from the file system and sends the requested page back to the browser. The end user can then view the static HTML page from their browser.

The desire is to provide web pages that are dynamically generated from information stored in a database. The end user can then retrieve information via the Internet that is rich in content, completely up-to-date with the data in the database and tailored to meet their specific needs. This represents considerable challenges to data management teams.

The first challenge is to allow for the connectivity from the Internet to the database while still maintaining data integrity and security requirements. The second challenge is to actually create and maintain this new vehicle of data access via the Internet. At a minimum, data management teams will be charged with creating and maintaining the portion of the corporate Internet that dynamically accesses the database.

With the introduction of the Professional version of Sybase SQL Server for Windows NT, Sybase is the first to offer a full service database for the Windows NT platform. Sybase has successfully transformed the DBMS into a content management system, offering a whole solution from Internet access to website management to database design to query and reporting tools.

Compiled from www.sybase.com

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